When it comes to shellfish, it's all about trust. In Kitchen Confidential
, his hilarious, hopped-up exposé of the underside of the restaurant business, chef Anthony Bourdain says that he will not order mussels in a place where he doesn't know the chef and hasn't seen how they store the shellfish; he explains this squeamishness with a memorably vivid account of food poisoning from a single bad mussel. We don't know the chef at Kingfisher, nor have we inspected the fridge, but we have joyfully scarfed many dozens of mussels and oysters there and have always emerged sated and unscathed. The kingfisher is a bird who swallows his fishy prey the minute he scoops it up out of the water; due to an unhappy accident of geography, the seafood at Kingfisher can't be quite that fresh, but it's close. Delicious seafood with a Gulf Coast flair is Kingfisher's bread and butter, and they do it right.
2. Bluefin Seafood Bistro, 7053 N. Oracle Road, 531-8500, bluefintucson.com
3. Red Lobster, 5870 E. Broadway Blvd., 519-1002; 5061 N. Oracle Road, 293-9174; www.redlobster.com
Sign of the impending apocalypse: Long John Silver's, three votes